Jeffery Hubbard, Superintendent of The Newport Mesa School District was convicted on Monday, January 23rd on 2 counts of misappropriation of funds in relation to giving one of his subordinates $20,000 in bonuses and a car allowance increase without board approval when he was with the Beverly Hills School Board.
UPDATE: In a special Board Meeting today, the Newport -Mesa School District fired Superintendent Jeffrey Hubbard.
Karen Anne Christiansen was given the $20,000 in 2 separate payments, and an increase in her car allowance from $150 a month $500 a month by Hubbard. Hubbard denies any romantic connection between the 2, but it has been reported that the they had more than just a professional relationship. On January 5th Ms. Christiansen was sentenced to 4 years in prison relating to the scandal.
Hubbard was placed on paid leave for 5 months to “prepare his defense” and was supported in the process by a majority of the 7 member Newport Mesa School board according to Lauren Williams of The Daily Pilot. On Tuesday January 24th, Newport-Mesa Unified school board trustees plan to meet in a closed session to discuss Mr. Hubbard’s future with the district while his case is on appeal. He was released on his own recognizance. Sentencing is scheduled for February 23rd. Hubbard faces as much as 5 years in prison on the convictions.
The following press release was sent to TheLiberalOC from the Newport Federation of Teachers following the felony convictions of Jeffery Hubbard:
Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers AFT 1794 Responds to Guilty Verdict of Superintendent Jeffrey Hubbard
This afternoon, Dr. Jeffrey Hubbard, N-MUSD Superintendent, was found guilty by a Los Angeles Superior Court jury on two of three felony charges of misappropriation of public funds.
As educators, we are saddened by the impact that this case has had on the reputation of our district and the resources it has drained from our classrooms.
Though the felony charges stemmed from employment outside of Newport Mesa Unified School District, the email messages exchanged between Jeffrey Hubbard and Karen Christiansen, introduced as evidence in the case, revealed behavior unbecoming of a superintendent of a school district. Furthermore, the majority of our School Board members voted to grant Jeffrey Hubbard five months of paid leave to prepare for his defense – this money would have better served the public had it been spent in our classrooms.
We look forward to finding a new superintendent who respects processes put in place to protect the public trust, understands both the Newport Beach and Costa Mesa communities, and is willing to put the needs of our students first. We call on the School Board to have an open and transparent public process, with input from parents, teachers, and other community members in our search for a new superintendent. We want a School Board that is responsive and responsible to the community.